Pharmed and Dangerous
"Pharmed and Dangerous; the Pharmaceutical Industry in Canada" (Community News Department, CKUT Radio McGill) is a ten-part radio series that looks at the brand-name drug industry — from its role in a globalized economy to its presence in our bathroom medicine cabinets. The series was born out of a desire to open our eyes to the power and influence of the multinational drug cartel, not only on trade policies and medical research but on the shortened lifespans of millions of people around the world.
The primary focus, however, is on the prescription drug industry within Canada and how it affects Canadian consumers. The series begins by exploring the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on Canadian government policy, university research and the mainstream media, with inevitable links to U.S. influences. To give a picture of ethical issues that crop up in connection with the brand-name drug industry, the series provides a look at Third World drug research and the lack of access to life-saving medicines and generic drugs in an international context. Zeroing in on issues affecting the Canadian consumer, it looks at the hype in medical reporting, direct-to-consumer advertising, drug safety, access to drug information, access to generic medicines, the notion of "disease management," post-market surveillance of new drugs, the marketing of depression, the co-opting of herbal medicines, the thrust of current research towards genomics, the role of consumer advocacy in a post-90's economy and a call for a fully public national drug plan.
The experts interviewed think that people need to ask questions in the doctor's examining room about short-term and long-term effects that powerful — and insufficiently tested — prescription drugs can have on our health. This series raises awareness of what we call "prescription culture" — the expectation that going to the doctor means getting a prescription. Many of the 18 people interviewed in the "Pharmed and Dangerous" series are nationally or internationally known. Each segment ranges from 54 to 60 minutes in length and includes narration and musical interludes that relate to the themes.
Included are useful Web links and contact information for advocacy groups such as PharmaWatch, an on-line forum for Canadian prescription drug consumers to network with each other about adverse drug reactions. There are also a few surprises. "Pharmed and Dangerous" is a CKUT Long-Term Memory Radio documentary series and is available in a set of CDs from Radio McGill. For more information, go to radio4all.net/proginfo. php?id=7542, or contact CKUT's Community News Department at email@example.com (514-398-6788).